Research Using Customer Feedback Surveys & Other Tools

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The Gist

  • Survey strengths. Customer feedback surveys offer scalable, convenient ways to gather initial user insights, but may lack depth.
  • Tool diversity. Other customer feedback tools like interviews and analytics provide richer context, filling gaps in survey data.
  • Design focus. User design benefits from a multi-method approach, combining different tools for a well-rounded view of user needs.

Understanding users and their needs is vital for providing exceptional products and services for great user experience design. Customer feedback surveys have long been used as the primary method to gain valuable insights and effectively cater to user needs.

Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of surveys, explore various other customer research methods and customer feedback tools and highlight the advantages and limitations associated with each regarding user experience design.

A smart phone displays a purple and white screen where UX and UI are prominently displayed in a piece about how to collect customer feedback with customer feedback surveys and other customer feedback tools
Using customer feedback tools like surveys and interviews, among other customer feedback tools, is essential for great user design. Stanisic Vladimir on Adobe Stock Photo

Why Are We Doing Customer Research for User Experience Design?

User experience design means that an offering (whether it be a product, a service, or a combination of both) is geared toward the need of its customers and users. To accomplish that, we need to find things out about our customers and prospective customers that we don’t know yet. The more we know about them and their stated and unstated needs the more effectively we can craft solutions for them that truly help them accomplish objectives. A helpful concept is the “context of use.” It consists of several elements that in totality define the circumstances that form a user experience:

  • Users — Who are the people who engage with the product?
  • Goals — What outcomes do users try to achieve?
  • Tasks — What activities do users undertake to reach certain goals?
  • Resources — What equipment and tools do users have at their disposal when carrying out their tasks?
  • Environment — Where are the users situated when carrying out their tasks? This can be the physical, social, cultural and organizational environment.

If we have sufficient information about all these elements, we should be well equipped to craft well-informed user experience designs that define and specify stellar products and services.

Related Article: 3 Ways to Reduce Bias in Customer Survey-Based Data for Effective CX

Methods to Collect Customer Feedback

There are many methods to collect customer feedback. Due to their convenience and scalability, customer feedback surveys have traditionally been — and still are — widely used. However, it is important to acknowledge the advantages and limitations of surveys and explore alternative methods to gain a more holistic understanding of the target audience of our offerings.

The Good and Bad About Customer Feedback Surveys

Customer feedback surveys offer several advantages, including the ease of creating them in feature-rich survey tools, the ability to reach many respondents, and the efficient analysis of the results (at least for answers to close-ended questions).

However, surveys have limitations, too, as it can be challenging to orchestrate follow-up or clarifying questions. Also, closed-ended survey questions, which typically constitute the majority of items in polls, only provide limited insights. Open-ended questions can accommodate that better but manually analyzing them at scale requires significant effort. However, advancements in artificial intelligence have facilitated the interpretation of free text answers greatly.

Finally, customer feedback surveys primarily capture attitudinal information, offering insights into users’ opinions and preferences which may not coincide with their actual behavior. Just because a respondent says that she most likely will use a certain product feature does not mean she actually will. One of the elements of the context of use was the physical, social, cultural and organizational environment in which an offering is going to be used. It is very hard to sufficiently gather all the required information for that in a survey.

Related Article: Making Customer Surveys Count in the B2B, Industrial Worlds

What Are Other Customer Feedback Tools We Can Utilize?

Interviews

Interviews, whether structured or semi-structured, provide a qualitative approach to understanding users. While interviews allow for in-depth exploration of topics, they involve fewer participants than surveys and thus may not provide representative data. Executing and analyzing interviews can be more time-consuming, but here again AI can help.

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